I love America.
I really do.
I love its beauty, its vast landscapes, beaches, and mountains.
I love its wide variety of choices and cultures.
I love its music, its art, its movies, its toughness and its weaknesses.
I love New York City, San Francisco and New Orleans. I love Chicago and DC. Shit, I even love Baltimore, West Virginia and New Jersey!
But I have to say that after a recent two-week excursion to Italy that I am not too sure if I have that same love for Americans.
Not all Americans (of course) there are plenty of awesome ones! Like any reading this post (you, yes, YOU are totally awesome!).
I am sure you have heard the term “The Ugly American” at some point in your life. In general, yes, we are quite an ugly nation of people. When you have 300 million and counting, percentages say that not all can look like Brangelina. But what I came to learn upon said trip to Italy was that the term does not necessarily refer to an American’s looks. It’s referring to the American attitude. We are a pushy, cocky, self-centered, loud people and nowhere else does this become more apparent than when you travel abroad. And look, I am no world-traveling-snob, this was my very first trip across the pond, but it didn’t take long at all to realize just how easily an American sticks out in a city such as Florence. For one thing, Italians call it Firenze not Florence. They also call Rome “Roma.” I guess they simplified it for our sake? For another, you can usually tell an American by hearing them, in that, you HEAR them. Sure, I probably pick out the American accent easier than, say, a Swiss one, but it’s the sheer volume of how we speak that separates us from our European brethren. That is not to say there aren’t plenty of loud Europeans. Oh yes, there are quite a few of those too. I suppose it’s because our land is so big (along with our food portions, cars, and bellies) that we feel the need to make sure our speaking voices are heard. And if you are from the East Coast like me then you probably talk loud because you spend half of your conversations trying to talk over the other East Coasters you are conversing with (we tend to all speak at once).